Social Sciences Book Reviews

COOL by Steven Quartz
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 14, 2015

"Some points are more provocative than convincing, but the authors put a lively spin on an age-old argument."
A counterintuitive analysis suggesting that consumers instinctively know more about the value of the signals they are sending than their critics do. Read full book review >
THE PRIME OF LIFE by Steven Mintz
HISTORY
Released: April 7, 2015

"A thoughtful and strangely encouraging tour of an often difficult life stage."
Mintz (History/Univ. of Texas; Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood, 2004, etc.) puts into historical perspective the changes and continuities that have marked adulthood over, principally, the last 200 years.Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 7, 2015

"A cautionary, timely gay rights manifesto with teeth."
The noted outspoken gay journalist and radio host passionately appeals to the gay community to resist complacency in the struggle for equality. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 1, 2015

"To be read as both corrective and supplement to Foucault, Szasz, and Rieff. Often brilliant and always luminous and rewarding."
Far-ranging, illuminating study of minds gone awry across space and time. Read full book review >
SO YOU'VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED by Jon Ronson
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: March 31, 2015

"Another intriguing journey from Ronson, who notes that our social media dark side grows ever darker when we believe we're superior to others—and anonymous."
The author of works about everyday psychopathologies takes a hard look at the dark side of shaming on social media. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 24, 2015

"An impressive debut offering explanations based on coherence between people, cases and the events they adjudicated."
Center for American Progress senior constitutional policy analyst Millhiser assesses the damage caused by the Supreme Court to the Constitution, government and the citizens whose rights have repeatedly been curtailed or abrogated in arbitrary, capricious, bigoted and arrogant proceedings. Read full book review >
WHERE YOU GO IS NOT WHO YOU'LL BE by Frank Bruni
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 17, 2015

"Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions."
New York Times op-ed columnist Bruni (Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater, 2009, etc.) shows why rejection by an Ivy League college need not be a disaster and may even be a blessing. Read full book review >
RECAPITULATIONS by Vincent Crapanzano
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 2015

"Crapanzano's self-conscious, self-analytical style makes this a unique and interesting search for lost time."
A book of memories about the act of remembering. Read full book review >
TERMS OF SERVICE by Jacob Silverman
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: March 17, 2015

"Intelligent, provocative and illuminating in the author's argument that social media companies must examine their ethics and find business models that don't depend on perpetual surveillance of customers."
Freelancer Silverman, a celebrated Jeopardy! champion and contributor to Slate, the Atlantic and other publications, debuts with a deep and disquieting plunge into digital culture.Read full book review >
STUFFOCATION by James Wallman
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 10, 2015

"A provocative, challenging discourse likely to spur some to action."
A reasoned and passionate argument for culling the clutter and plugging into the joys of experiential living. Read full book review >
OUR KIDS by Robert D. Putnam
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 10, 2015

"An insightful book that paints a disturbing picture of the collapse of the working class and the growth of an upper class that seems to be largely unaware of the other's precarious existence."
A political scientist calls attention to the widening class-based opportunity gap among young people in the United States. Read full book review >
LOVING LEARNING by Tom Little
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 2, 2015

"Little's enthusiasm and passion for the potential of progressive schools burn on every page and offer hope for a better way forward."
One of the leaders of the progressive education movement reflects on ways to improve more than just standardized test scores. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fatima Bhutto
April 14, 2015

Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, Fatima Bhutto’s debut novel The Shadow of the Crescent Moon begins and ends one rain-swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border. Three brothers meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, Aman Erum, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. Sikandar, a doctor, drives to the hospital where he works, but must first stop to collect his troubled wife, who has not joined the family that morning. No one knows where Mina goes these days. But when, later in the morning, the two are taken hostage by members of the Taliban, Mina will prove to be stronger than anyone could have imagined. Our reviewer writes that The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is “a timely, earnest portrait of a family torn apart by the machinations of other people’s war games and desperately trying to survive.” View video >